Key issues • Mississippi

Former Mississippi DHS director pleads guilty to welfare fraud scheme

A former top state official in Mississippi pleaded guilty Thursday to state and federal charges in connection to an embezzlement scheme that auditors say misused millions of welfare dollars, including funneling funds into projects linked to prominent Mississippians like former NFL star Brett Favre.Officials from the US Department of Justice and the Hinds County District Attorney Office announced the one-time head of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, John Davis, had pleaded guilty to two federal counts and 18 state counts. Davis, 54, served as the director of the Human Services Department at the time state auditors say more than $70 million of federal welfare funds were being misused, including being spent on officials’ personal expenses and by charities on projects unrelated to the welfare program.

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